Total global music sales fell by almost $1.5bn (£930m) last year. But in many countries the sales of digital music continued to grow.
And the UK lost its position as the third largest music market after “physical” sales of CDs collapsed by almost a fifth.
The world’s largest markets, the US and Japan, fared especially badly last year accounting for 57% of the total global decline in trade revenues.
In the US, overall sales fell by 10% with physical sales down 20% to just over $2bn and digital sales saw 1.2% growth to $2bn. Japan saw an overall market decline of 8.3%.
Overall UK sales were $1.38bn, down some $170m or 11% year on year, thanks to a 19.2% fall in physical sales to $920m. Sales through digital channels boomed by 19.6% to $347m.
In Europe digital revenue growth increased by an impressive 21.6% with most countries – including Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands – seeing double digit increases.
Of the major markets ranking in the top 20 by size, just three saw year on year sales increases with Korea up 11.7%, India up 16.5% and Mexico up 0.9%.
“The demand for new music seems as insatiable and diverse as ever, and record companies continue to meet it,” said Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. “But they are operating at only a fraction of their potential because of a difficult environment dominated by piracy.”
The recording industry may blame digital piracy for the drop in sales, but perhaps some of the overall fall is due to new ways of releasing music. Many bands now choose to release albums themselves, or offer download only deals, cutting out the record company, and are therefore not counted in the industry sales totals.
And of course there is a recession, meaning less disposable income for many people.